Hong Kong Christian Service

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Issue 006
2015 Mar

Belated Learning Framework consultation
Framework effectivesness questioned by ethnic minority groups

In the Policy Address recently released, there will be Applied Learning (Chinese Language) Course (the "Course") offered to ethnic minorities (Ems) to tackle their below standard of Chinese Language.

Learning the Chinese Language has always been the crucial difficulties for the EMs to further their studies and integrate into the society. However, ever since the Course was introduced in 2014, the EMs has never been consulted.

Limbu, an EMs parent raised a question shared by other parents: she queried why the government did not inform parents before implementing the Learning Framework? With joint efforts from various social service organisations, the Education Bureau (the "Bureau") met twice, in December last year (3 months after the implementation of the measure) and February this year, with the parents and students of EMs. However, their queries are still not solved despite these two meetings.

Queries from EMs parents

One the biggest queries was that how can the Bureau monitors and guarantees that this additional resources can be made available to them to ensure that their children can get the required support in learning the Chinese Language.

Although it is said that when a student reaches the required standard in the Course, this can be considered meeting the basic entrance requirement to most of the post-secondary schools. Bibi, a Pakistan student worried that it might not be helpful for admission to a university. "Since most of the applied learning courses in post-secondary schools serve as reference only, the scores will not be counted as credits. What grade is it equivalent to? That frustrates me." Bibi said since post-secondary schools are not required to state how the scores in this Course is calculated, therefore, whether the Course is advantageous to further studies is still doubtful.

Recognition of the Applied Learning (Chinese Language) Course doubted

Having said that the standard of the Course is in between the Chinese Language course in GCSE1 and Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination, and the Civil Service Bureau accepted the Course as satisfying the Chinese Language requirement in the relevant civil service rank, but students worry that, "the Course can really improve my Chinese Language ability? I am worry that employers might think the Course too simple and do not recognise it." Another felt that "It only offers courses on service industry and hospitality, I’m worried about my career prospects are limited." Furthermore, would the two institutions that offer the course varied in their level of standards? If employers do not have confidence in monitoring of the Course, it would affect the recognition.

Ever since the new measures has been in place, there are still much doubts among EMs students and parents about the Learning Framework or the Course, therefore, the Education Bureau should have more communication with them and concerned parties to explain the measure.

As the effectiveness of the measure has yet been known, practitioners in education and social service should monitor the progress closely and joint hands to give useful opinions (such as, to arrange classroom observations) It is hoped that through these, the measures can be implemented effectively and can ease the frustrations of studying and working in Hong Kong among the EMs students and parents.

1 The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is equivalent to the level one in the secondary education for students in the UK. The Chinese Language in GCSE is for local non-Chinese students to attain the necessary job qualification.

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